May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month – Myths and Facts You Should Know

Brain Cancer Myths and Facts

May is National Brain Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re doing our part to spread awareness by sharing some valuable information about brain cancer and the impact it has on the people who live with it – and their families. We will share some statistics about brain tumors and their prevalence and distinguish fact from fiction by highlighting some of the common myths about brain cancers.

The American Brain Tumor Association explains that brain tumors are classified in two ways.

  • Primary brain tumors refer to tumors that start in the brain and stay there
  • Metastatic brain tumors start elsewhere in the body and spread or metastasize to other parts of the body, especially the brain. This type of tumor affects adults more often than children.

Recent Government Statistics for Brain Tumor Diagnoses in the U.S.

ABTA statistics suggest that 80,000 new cases of primary brain tumors will be diagnosed in the United States in 2017.

  • Roughly one-third or 32% of those people who get the diagnosis will learn that they have a malignant brain or Central Nervous System (CNS) tumor. That includes tumors in the spinal cord, pituitary and pineal glands.
  • Out of those 80,000 new malignant brain cancer diagnoses, 26,000 will be cases of primary malignant brain tumors, while 53,000 will be primary non-malignant brain tumors.
  • Brain tumors are the most common type of cancer diagnosed in children between the age of 0 and 14 years old, and according to a 2016 report, the rate of brain cancer among children is higher than the incidence of leukemia. Brain tumors kill more kids in the 0 – 14 age group than any other type of cancer.
  • The average age of adults who are diagnosed with all types of primary brain tumors is 59 years old.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, 23,800 new cases of malignant brain and spinal cord cancers will be diagnosed. Of those, men will account for 13,450 and women will account for 10,350.

People who work in certain industries have a higher risk of developing brain and spinal cord tumors than the rest of the population.

  • Individuals who work in oil refineries.
  • People who handle the chemical benzene.
  • Individuals who handle jet fuel.
  • Morticians or others who use embalming chemicals.
  • People who work in the rubber industry.

Myths and Facts About Brain and Spinal Cord Cancers

In case you’re wondering about the likelihood that you or someone in your family will develop brain cancer at any point in their lifetime, rest easy because the chance of that is less than 1 percent.

Men have a 1 in 140 chance of being diagnosed with brain cancer in their lifetime. Women have a 1 in 180 chance.

Myth: People who have family members who have brain tumors are more likely to get brain cancer.
Fact: There is no proof that heredity is a factor that contributes to brain cancer development.

Myth: Brain cancer is contagious like communicable diseases.
Fact: There is no evidence that brain cancer is contagious.

Myth: Athletes who get repeated head injuries will develop brain tumors
Fact: There is no evidence that head trauma causes brain cancer.

Myth: You can get brain cancer from the radiation that cell phones emit.
Fact: There is no evidence that cell phone use causes brain cancer.

Myth: Aspartame causes brain cancer.
Fact: Despite the hype about aspartame and the suggestions that it causes brain cancer, none of the FDAs many toxicological studies have offered proof to support the claims and rumors. The FDA considers it safe, but that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy.

Myth: Benign brain tumors aren’t severe.
Fact: All brain tumors are serious. The degree of severity depends a lot on the location of the tumor in the brain.

Brain tumors have the greatest potential to have long-lasting and severe life-changing impacts on the cognitive, psychological and physical functioning of cancer patients who live with the disease. This May, show your support for National Brain Cancer Awareness Month. A grey ribbon brings awareness to Brain Cancer, and Choose Hope Brain Cancer Awareness Products can help you spread the word.

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4 comments on “May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month – Myths and Facts You Should Know
  1. Karen Rajek says:

    I lost a son to brain cancer 6-1/2 years ago. He had stage 4 glioblastoma and was told he had 12-14 months to live. He lived 27 months and all but the last few days were good days. Our hope is that a good treatment can be found to help those that are facing this type of cancer. He was part of a clinical trial which worked very well. Problem was he could be on this trial for only a specified time. Soon after the drug was discontinued from his regimen, the tumor grew back very aggressively. He had a second surgery in spring and died in July. The doctors said his positive attitude had a huge effect and helped him to stay alive as long as he did. In the end, the only advice one can give is to “enjoy the time.”

  2. It’s interesting to learn more about brain cancer. I love the fact that May is dedicated to this, to raise awareness. I’m glad that this type of cancer isn’t hereditary because it’s hit a few of my family members.

  3. Pedro vathe says:

    Here’s Janet, Volunteer Coordinator of the Edmonton Brain Tumour Walk at the High Level Bridge in Edmonton, lit in orange, blue and grey for Brain Tumour Awareness Month in May 2018. Thanks to Reflections for this photo!

  4. my darling healthy husband; an athletic 68 year old concert pianist, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma grade iv on the motor line of his brain: he died within 8 month. Since his death, I have struggled alone through the trauma of his brutal illness.
    If I am to find a way to get my grip on life I ask/beg to be able to get some understanding from others who have had the experience of this particular tumour. When the diagnoses was given, i had to keep a semblance of ‘coping normality’I. I was the sole carer until the end. I had to keep a ( hopeless) hope alive. I could not take time off to research brain tumours: I was caring for my husband 24/7 until his last 4 weeks in hospital when I kept watch in the chair by his bed to the end. But I am still tortured by Questions. All of my actions were governed by hope … I still believe that people who have knowledge of brain tumours will be able to help me get some information that will help me to … be able to begin to cope with this brutal illness that killed my husband. When I have some understanding I can usually deal with things. My husband was treated in Queen’s Sq Neurological hospital unfortunately I have had no contact with them since. I haven’t had the energy to ask them to help me – I have taken courage tonight (fortified by a stiff drink !) please, if you can help me. Olivia . (private)

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